Sound — 9
Kevin Matisyn has always been an impressive vocalist, as shown from his tenure with Evans Blue. However, you really see his songwriting skills taking full swing in this album, with fantastic vocals delivered from Matisyn. A wide vocal range followed up by an impressive growl backs the band entirely.
Kyle Mathis, rhythm guitarist of Parabelle, is a riff machine. With hard-hitting guitar parts throughout the whole album, the band would simply not be the same without Mathis. He masters patterns from clean harmony to distortion to the point where you'll find yourself banging your head.
Of course, Mathis, while heavily supporting the sound, lies underneath the ethereal lead guitar of Aaron Burton. Burton wrote all of his parts, and he proves himself to be a genius when it comes to crafting an atmosphere. While there is no concrete bassist with the band, producer Mike Hough fills in decently, although there are no real standout moments.
The drums were mainly provided by Jordan Hatfield and Howard Davis. I prefer Davis as I have already heard his work in Evan Blue's sophomore album, "The Pursuit Begins When This Portrayal of Life Ends...", but Hatfield performs well too. Either way, both drummers are great at what they do, and the result can only be heard or inferred from a fan's erratic air-drumming.
Overall, the blend of the members' mastery stirs into a raw (Mathis) yet refined (Burton) sound sprinkled with delicacy (Matisyn) but held up by driving rhythms (Hatfield/Davis).
Lyrics — 9
The lyrics are one of the selling points of the band. Kevin Matisyn is a fantastic lyricist, but he knows how to blend his lyrics with a melody, a skill many songwriters flop on. The band also knows how to back up lyrics, especially Mathis and Burton, who are geniuses in writing instrumental parts to perfectly coincide with the words and connotations. A good example is the dreamy clean underbelly of "My Surrender," that palpitates into a fantastic aura of unadulterated genius from the guitarists.
Overall Impression — 9
The album is one of the best I have ever heard. It definitely lives up to Kevin Matisyn's time with Evans Blue, which is something I have felt Parabelle hasn't been able to do yet. In fact, I may go as far as to say it surpasses Evans Blue, or at least EB's debut. EB's second album was also fantastic, so I won't decide between those two.
The best songs on the album are "Tear the Blue," "In the Shadows," "Whisper," "Line of Fire," and "My Surrender." These are the only songs, in my opinion, that are great throughout the whole song. In a track by track review:
01. "Tear the Blue" - Standout track, although the bridge could be slightly better.
02. "Blisters and Bad Eyes" - Great buildup in the bridge, but the chorus doesn't get up to par.
03. "Rise" - Although good throughout, it's not great.
04. "In The Shadows" - Standout track, nothing wrong with it.
05. "Whisper" - Tied for my favorite song on the album, fantastic drumming and great riffing.
06. "Your Starry Eyes" - Although the bridge is great, the rest of the song left something to be desired.
07. "Heaven Like" - Just weak, too sluggish to be interesting.
08. "Let It Out" - Too unrefined, it feels as if it can become something, but Parabelle never chipped away at it.
09. "Line of Fire" - A fantastic chorus that throws you for a loop, but the song's best part is its bridge, which is probably the best breakdown on the whole album.
10. "Listen" - Sloppy. Not as bad as Heaven Like, but the awkward transition between the verses and the chorus was weak. Nice bridge, though.
11. "My Surrender" - Tied for the best song on the album, but I give this one the slightest edge because I listened to it on loop for about a month. Fantastic breakdown with the whole band singing at one point. Great closer.
So there is a lot wrong with the album, but the standout tracks are so majestic, it doesn't even matter. If this album was stolen or lost, I would probably just download the standout tracks again in the interest of saving, but the album is still recommended.